Known from northern Papua New Guinea (Madang), Guam and Hawaii.
15 m depth, "Three Tables", Hawaii, 1980, dorsal view of 22 mm specimen, Photo: S. Johnson (Brunckhorst, 1993: Plate 8H).
Notes compiled from Brunckhorst, 1993:
Diagnostic external features of Phyllidiopsis sphingis are: the low white ridges and intervening black stripes mid dorsally; a U-shaped black band around the perimeter of the median area; black rays extending to the mantle edge; iridescent blue coloration on the broad mantle margin; cream to pale yellow rhinophores; cream coloration ventrally; dark grey gills.
This species is superficially similar to Phyllidiopsis annae and Phyllidiopsis striata. However, P. striata has a white mantle skirt without black rays, lemon yellow rhinophores and grey ventral coloration. Phyllidiopsis annae has granular blue, median ridges and mantle margin (white median ridges in P. sphingis) but has neither white coloration, nor black rays on the margin, and possesses black rhinophores with 14-17 lamellae on their clavus (rhinophores cream with 7-10 lamellae on each rhinophoral clavus in the present species). Phyllidiopsis annae has dark grey oral tentacles whereas those of the present species are pale cream.
• Brunckhorst, D.J. (1993) The systematics and phylogeny of Phyllidiid Nudibranchs (Doridoidea). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 16: 1-107.
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (August 1) Phyllidiopsis sphingis Brunckhorst, 1993. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/phylsphi
August 25, 2007
From: Harry Blalock
I found another nudibranch this past weekend that I haven't seen before, and haven't been able to locate online either. The only reason I saw it was that it was iridescent when my flashlight hit it. The blue fringe all around the edges of him absolutely glowed when the flashlight lit him up. Can you help me with an ID on him?
Locality: Grotto - a cavern dive, 45', Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Ocean, 19 August 2007, On the side of a rock. Length: 1/4". Photographer: Harry Blalock.
email@example.comBlalock, H., 2007 (Aug 25) Phyllidiopsis sphingis from Northern Mariana Ids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/20553
This is a nice find. It's Phyllidiopsis sphingis which is known from a very few records from a few parts of the western Pacific, including Guam, Hawaii, and Madang in Papua New Guinea. If you look carefully you can see white granules scattered through the skin near the mantle edge. These are small glands but I suspect they increase the opacity of the mantle around the edge and enhance the 'blueness' and reflectivity of the border
December 5, 2003
From: Paul Osmond
Found this little guy (about 30mm from memory) on Flinders Reef in the Coral Sea in October 2003 off the coast of Queensland. He was in about 20 meters of water.
After much internal debate I believe it is most likely Phyllidiopsis sphingis, although I see no record off this species in the area.
Unfortunately he was not co-operating in allowing a good photo, so this is the best shot I got of him.
firstname.lastname@example.orgOsmond, P., 2003 (Dec 5) Phyllidiopsis sphingis from the Coral Sea?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/11596
It certainly looks like Phyllidiopsis sphingis. It is known from Papua New Guinea, so finding it on the Great Barrier Reef is no great surprise, but it is good to be able to positively extend its known distribution.
June 26, 2001
From: Erwin Köhler
here is the next one from the Philippines,
Cebu Island, Moalboal, divesite "Sunken Island", depth 27 m, length 18 mm, June 03, 2001. Is it Phyllidiopsis sphingis?
Erwin@medslugs.deKöhler, E., 2001 (Jun 26) Phyllidiopsis sphingis? from the Philippines. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4643
It certainly seems to be this species, If so it is a useful addition to its known distribution of Papua New Guinea, Guam and Hawaii.